By Alexander Cole
Untimely offensive errors and mistakes on special teams proved costly for the Concordia Stingers as they lost their home opener against the Université de Laval Rouge et Or by a score of 37-18 on Sept. 10.
“Realistically, we got to finish in the redzone with our offense. We had too many dropped balls and too many miscues,” said Stingers head coach Mickey Donovan. “We had too many mistakes on special teams with our kick return team and out punt return team. These are things we can fix.”
Early in the first quarter, already down 5-0, the Stingers had a chance at a field goal, however the kick was blocked and then returned 84 yards for a touchdown by Rouge et Or defensive lineman Mathieu Betts. This gave Laval a 12-0 lead early on.
On the ensuing kickoff, Stingers running back Quaysie Gordon-Maule received the ball on his team’s 6-yard line, and ran the ball 104 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 12-7.
In the second quarter, the Rouge et Or capitalized on their chances, and added two touchdowns to give themselves a 26-7 lead at halftime. The Stingers, who are known for their high-flying offense, struggled to get points on the board as they were unable to score in the second quarter.
“They did the little things right and we didn’t focus on those things,” Stingers quarterback Trenton Miller said. “No defense in this league is too much for us—we just need to execute.”
In the second half, the Stingers were able to get off to a better start. They forced Laval deep into their own zone which led to a safety and then later in the third quarter, the Stingers scored a field goal to reduce the lead to 26-12.
As the match progressed, the Stingers were able to get the ball into the Rouge et Or zone, but could not finish. The Rouge et Or defense was there to shut the door at every occasion, however, for Rouge et Or head coach Glen Constantin, containing the Stingers offense wasn’t easy.
“It was difficult. We prepared for 80 per cent passing last week like they did against McGill but they came out rushing at first,” Constantin said. “We had to readjust a couple things. They make fast reads and we had to make their quarterback earn his throws.”
With the game out of reach, Miller brought his team deep into the Laval zone and ran the ball into the endzone himself for the team’s first offensive touchdown of the game. After a failed two-point conversion by the Stingers, the score settled at 37-18.
The Stingers combined for 372 yards of total offense, while the Rouge et Or combined for 434 yards of total offense. Despite being outplayed on the offensive side of the ball, Donovan praised his team’s performance.
“Despite having a couple of dropped passes, I thought our offense played well,” Donovan said. “There’s things that we can fix and there are things we’re going to get better on. But our kids played a tough game.”
The Stingers will take on the Université de Montréal Carabins at the Centre d’éducation physique et des sports de l’Université’ de Montréal on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.